According to a study, back pain is the third most common cause of visiting a doctor. It is experienced by everyone at least once in their lifetime. Even though so many people suffer from back pain, a lot of people don’t seek treatment for it. What most people don’t realise is that common day-to-day practices are the main reason for causing pain in the back, one of them being sitting for long hours in a chair, especially at work.
3 main causes of backache?
The main causes of back pain include:
- Exerting too much force on the back (moving heavy objects)
- Repetitive movements at work
- Inactivity- sitting for long hours
The most common reason of back pain is poor posture. Hunching over while sitting, sitting for long hours, lifting heavy weights and twisting inappropriately, and even sleeping on a bad mattress can cause postural stress. Bad posture is one of the main culprits of causing back ache in most people. A lot of pressure is put on the spine when a person sits for long hours or sits with an improper position. This can be applied to sitting in the car, at work, or at home.
What mistakes are you making while sitting?
Most of us have bad postural habits of sitting in a way that puts a strain on the back and ultimately causes back pain. Because these habits are old and routine, we tend to ignore them and do not consider them as a cause for back pain.
- Looking down at the cell phone, desk or a book. When the head leans forward, it puts extra strain on the muscles of the upper back and neck.
- Rolling forward of the shoulders. If the chair is too soft and does not provide enough support, we are bound to produce a muscle imbalance. This will in turn lead to back ache. This can also be the case if you’re leaning forward from your lower back.
- Elbows too far away from the body. This can result in an improper posture if done for long hours, as in a desk job.
- Tilting the head on the side while holding the phone. People tend to talk and work at the same time, trying to multitask. This posture is also very common and can lead to back ache and pain in the neck.
- Prolonged sitting. When we stay sedentary for long periods, the blood supply to our muscles is reduced. As a result, less oxygen and nutrients are received by the muscles. It is recommended that one should get up and move about every 30 mins. You can also make a habit of performing some stretches that you can easily do at work for a few minutes.
How to get rid of the pain?
Here are few tips to help you relieve back pain:
1. Home remedies
To get instant relief, try alternating between ice and heat. Use ice packs or ice wrapped in towels and apply for a few minutes on the area causing pain. Experts suggest that alternating between ice and heat (applying heating pads or taking a hot shower) will produce best results.
2. Exercises and activities
There are various activities that you can do to reduce back pain. These include Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi. If you opt for one of these, make sure you start with the easiest moves and then slowly progress to the more tough ones. An improper pose can aggravate the pain instead of reducing it. Performing such exercises can help improve flexibility and joint mobility. It also improves circulation and helps in healing the muscles. These can also increase the energy levels and makes a person more active.
3. Professional help
If you feel that it will not be possible to do any exercises on your own, you can always opt for advice from the professionals. Massage therapy is one of the best ways to relax and unwind, as well as helping relieve the back pain.
You can also consider visiting a chiropractor. Spinal manipulation can be done by them, easing the pain. Some chiropractors also provide guidance on nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If you need help from experts, and want am exercise regime tailored according to your needs, give a physical therapist a visit. This is a very effective option for treating back and neck pain. Physical therapists also provide guidance on improving posture, and helping with the exercises suited to your needs.
4. Using products that might be helpful
There are a lot of products available for support during sitting, standing, performing back exercises and even maintaining a good sleeping posture. These options can be helpful:
- Getting back support for sitting, which can be used at the office, at home or during travelling.
- Opt for a standing desk instead of sitting at one for long hours. You can even just use it for short periods during the day to help improve posture.
- Ergonomic chair is one of the best options to help relieve the stress on our spine and help improve back pain.
- Install a keyboard tray and get monitor arms to practice good ergonomics. This will help tremendously in improving the posture, even though it is a small investment.